Freshslice Pizza

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Freshslice Pizza
Locally owned subsidiary
Industry Fast food
Founded 1999
Headquarters Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Key people
Ray J. Russell (founder and CEO)
Products Pizza, pasta
Website www.freshslice.com

Freshslice Pizza is a Canadian franchised pizza chain in Metro Vancouver consisting of 74 locations in the Lower Mainland and one location in Toronto as of 2016.[1] The first restaurant opened in 1999 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Today, Freshslice Pizza is the second-largest pizza chain in British Columbia behind Panago in terms of locations open. This franchise has seen its unit growth decline recently[when?] after peaking with over 80 units. This was highlighted by the closure of the entire Ontario market aside of a single location in 2016. Many legal issues and lawsuits have surrounded the brand and its controversial founder Ray Russell since its inception.

History[edit]

Freshslice Pizza at Centrepoint Mall

Ray J. Russell established Freshslice Pizza with a purpose of developing a new fast-food concept. His goal was to combine pizza delivery with self-serve dining.[1] The Freshslice franchising model is unique[citation needed] in that franchisees pay 0% royalty rates and 0% marketing royalties.

Freshslice was awarded the Consumer Choice Awards for Business Excellence in 2007, 2008 and 2009.[2][3] Following their award in 2009, the corporate team was involved in an physical altercation at the Consumer Choice Awards and the company was subsequently banned from further participation.[citation needed] In 2013 it was awarded the Best By The Slice in Vancouver by Georgia Straight Magazine.

Controversy and legal issues[edit]

In 2011 the company was issued a court order to pay $44,000 for hiring illegal workers.[4] Companies owned by Freshslice Pizza founder Ray Russell, his wife Isabella Flores and corporate employee Bahman Afshari were all charged by Canadian Border Services Agencies after a tip led to the discover that over a dozen undocumented refugees were employed at Freshslice locations in Vancouver. Afshari was also personally charged. In 2012, JM Food Services, a company operating under Ray Russell, was involved with legal action against a former multiple-unit franchisee, Canada Businet Co. LTD regarding their closure of multiple Freshslice Pizza locations located in both British Columbia and Ontario.[5] In 2013, Ray Russell was found liable for over $40,000 for damages related to unpaid rent and related costs to R.T.M Holdings LTD. During the court proceedings it was also reveled that a corporate location owned by Mr Russell remained in operation to the public despite sewage repeatedly backing into the restaurant.[6] In 2014 Russell was found guilty by the B.C Supreme Court of wrongful dismissal of a corporate employee. The court found that Russell was having a sexual affair with the employee during the period that his wife Isabella Flores, also a corporate employee, was on maternity leave after having Mr Russell's first child shortly before hand. [7] Russell provided the employee with a free apartment, free travel and various other perks during their nearly year-long affair. The courts ordered a judgement of over $40,000 to the former employee.[8] In 2015 JM Food Services, held by Russell and Flores, came to a settlement with 2313103 Ontario Inc regarding the collapse of the Area Development agreement for the province of Ontario. It was claimed in court documents that the Area Developers went bankrupt and abandoned their territory due to Russell's hiding the extent of issues including unprofitable franchises within his Ontario territory. The entire territory aside of a location owned by related companies to Russell was closed in 2016.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Store Locator
  2. ^ "Company Background". Freshslice Pizza. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  3. ^ "Vancouver". Consumer Choice Award. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  4. ^ "Company Background". Freshslice Pizza. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  5. ^ "JM Food Services Ltd. v. Canada Businet Co. Ltd.". Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  6. ^ http://vancitybiz.com/judgement-freshslice-properties-ltd-v-r-t-m-holdings-ltd/, retrieved 2011-11-19  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2014/2014bcsc1927/2014bcsc1927.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAQZnJlc2hzbGljZSBwaXp6YQAAAAAB&resultIndex=1. Retrieved 2014-10-14.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2014/10/26/freshslice-pizza-owner-had-affair-with-employee-before-she-was-fired-judge-rules.html, retrieved 2014-10-14  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2015/2015onsc4029/2015onsc4029.html, retrieved 2015-06-15  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]